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Tue Apr 4, 2017, 10:03 AM

Ancestors your family may not have wanted to recognize...

My husband has been scanning photos from his family. He came on one labeled "Clara Ward, Princess de Chimay" - a name that he could not find in his family tree. Well, after checking out her Wikipedia entry it turns out dear Clara was the Kim Kardashian of the 1890s!

Clara Ward, Princesse de Caraman-Chimay
Clara Ward (17 June 1873 – 9 December 1916) was a wealthy American socialite who married a prince from Belgium.

The story of Clara Ward, who commonly used one or another version of the title "Princesse de Caraman-Chimay", is poorly known today, but for some years in the early 1890s she was the toast of the United States. During the late 1890s and the Edwardian years, she spent much time in both the society and gossip columns of two continents. She was widely known, envied and admired, desired, loathed and reviled.

First marriage
She came to the public's attention in 1889 or early 1890, when it was announced that a distinguished Belgian visitor to the United States, the Prince of Caraman-Chimay, a member of the Belgian Chamber of Deputies, had proposed marriage to the very young, very attractive daughter of a very wealthy family.

<SNIP>

Second marriage
After a series of secret meetings, Ward and Rigó Jancsi {a Gypsy musician} eloped in December 1896. To her family's consternation, the Ludington Record of 24 December 1896 carried a news service dispatch about the elopement with a woodcut illustration of Ward and the headline "Gone With a Gypsy".

<SNIP>
Her main talents were being beautiful by the standards of the time, and being famous. She combined the two by posing on various stages, including at least the Folies Bergère and probably also the Moulin Rouge, while wearing skin-tight costumes. She called her art-form her poses plastiques. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec made a scarce lithograph of her and Rigó in 1897, "Idylle Princière". She was often photographed, and featured on many postcards during the Edwardian period, sometimes in a pose plastique and sometimes in more or less conventional dress. Kaiser Wilhelm II is said to have forbidden the publication or display of her photograph in the German Empire because he thought her beauty "disturbing".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Ward,_Princesse_de_Caraman-Chimay


Clara went on to marry Peppino Ricciardo, a Spaniard, or maybe Italian, who was a waiter on a train. Her last marriage was to Signor Cassalota who was the station agent for the tourist train at Mount Vesuvius.

The Wikipedia article has a few pictures of her. It also includes a note that her parents were "Captain Eber Brock Ward (1811–1875) and his second wife, Catherine Lyon, a niece of Senator Benjamin Wade." Catherine Lyon was a half sister to my husband's 2nd great grandmother and his 3rd great aunt.

Benjamin Wade "was one of the most radical politicians in America at that time, supporting women's suffrage, trade union rights, and equality for African-Americans. He was also critical of how certain aspects of capitalism were practiced in the 19th century." If Andrew Johnson had been impeached, Benjamin Wade would have become President since he was President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate. "Although most senators believed that Johnson was guilty of the charges, they did not want the extremely radical Wade to become acting president. One newspaper wrote, "Andrew Johnson is innocent because Ben Wade is guilty of being his successor." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Wade#Impeachment_of_Johnson)

The photograph my husband found was taken in 1886 before Clara began all her adventures - when she was a young ingenue from a wealthy Michigan family.

11 replies, 4576 views

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Ancestors your family may not have wanted to recognize... (Original post)
csziggy Apr 2017 OP
TexasProgresive Apr 2017 #1
csziggy Apr 2017 #2
watrwefitinfor Apr 2017 #3
csziggy Apr 2017 #4
GeoWilliam750 Aug 2017 #11
Thor_MN May 2017 #5
csziggy May 2017 #6
Fla Dem May 2017 #9
csziggy May 2017 #10
TuxedoKat May 2017 #7
csziggy May 2017 #8

Response to csziggy (Original post)

Tue Apr 4, 2017, 10:44 AM

1. I'd rather have Clara than

my slave owning ancestors. We all have something good and something not so good in our family histories. Clara sounds like fun.

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Response to TexasProgresive (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 4, 2017, 11:39 AM

2. True - my husband gets Clara and I get slave owning Baptist preachers

I am SURE he got the better end of the family tree!

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Response to csziggy (Original post)

Tue Apr 4, 2017, 06:35 PM

3. K&R because

I never before saw a post from the Ancestry/Genealogy Group on the Greatest Page.

Nice story, too.

Wat

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Response to watrwefitinfor (Reply #3)

Tue Apr 4, 2017, 07:18 PM

4. Thanks - I study genealogy because I love the stories that can be found

I'm trying to share the family stories so that future generations will be interested.

Good to see a story get some interest here!

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Response to csziggy (Reply #4)

Thu Aug 3, 2017, 07:53 AM

11. Indeed

The stories are truly fascinating, and then one realizes that world history turns on the tip of the tiniest pin and for the most inconsequential of reasons. My family is chock o block with them.

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Response to csziggy (Original post)

Fri May 5, 2017, 05:59 PM

5. My college roomate has ancestors that came to North America before the USA existed.

 

He is generally not happy with that fact as some of them were described as "Indian Fighters."

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Response to Thor_MN (Reply #5)

Fri May 5, 2017, 08:35 PM

6. I have Mayflower passenger ancestors - and others that went to Pennsylvania before William Penn

The Pennsylvania ones were nicer than the Mayflower ones. One PA family was noted for being translators and friends to the indigenous people. Of course, those were Quakers, generally much nicer than the Pilgrims and Puritans of Massachusetts.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #6)

Mon May 15, 2017, 01:04 PM

9. Hey. don't knock the Puritans and Pilgrims!

Kidding, my descendants were witches. Mary Eastey and Rebecca Nourse (Nurse). Hung during the Salem witch trials. Their brother Edmund Towne is my 10th great-grandfather.

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Response to Fla Dem (Reply #9)

Mon May 15, 2017, 01:35 PM

10. OMG - one of my ancestors, Henry Kenney, was on Rebecca Nurse's jury

What's really fun is that one of his grandsons married her granddaughter who was named after her - not one of my ancestors, though.

"All of Rebecca Nurses’ accusers, including Abigail Williams, Ann Putnam, Jr., Ann Putnam, Sr., Edward Putnam, Thomas Putnam, Henry Kenney, Mary Walcott, and Elizabeth Hubbard were either Putnam family members or friends of the family."
http://historyofmassachusetts.org/the-trial-of-rebecca-nurse/

Some think Henry Kenney Sr. (Kinne, Kinne) was married to a sister of Thomas Putnam but I haven't found documentation of that. He married a Ann Howard who might have been a widow who had been born a Putnam. If so, she may have been one of the Ann Putnams listed above.

It is not clear if it was Henry Kinne Sr. born in England about 1624 or his son, Henry Kinne Jr. born in Salem in 1669 who served on the jury - both were alive in 1692 when Rebecca was arrested and both were active in community affairs during that period. I am descended from Henry Sr. through his son Thomas Kinne.

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Response to csziggy (Original post)

Tue May 9, 2017, 12:21 PM

7. Haha!

Clara sounds like she was a lot of fun. As the "Kim Kardashian" of the Edwardian Age, she gives you a great family story! I would be inclined to name a daughter after her if she was my ancestor.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #7)

Tue May 9, 2017, 12:30 PM

8. Clara would be a good name for a girl

But I would have attributed the name to Clara Oswald, one of Doctor Who's companions. Unfortunately so far this generation in my husband's family are all male - seven boys that are grandsons of his mother.

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